HERMISTON - As a team known for their defense, the No. 9 Hermiston Bulldogs put on an offensive show Tuesday to take down the No. 10 Madras White Buffalos 103-76.
From the first quarter on, Hermiston (13-3, 4-2 Intermountain Conference) employed the run-and-gun offense the Buffalos (11-5, 4-2 IMC) have become known for this season as newcomers to the IMC.
J.J. Ross took the opportunity to score a season-high 37 points, including 21 in the first half on an ongoing series of lay-ins.
"We told the guys we were going to get an entire smorgasbord of lay-ins tonight," coach Larry Usher said. "We took three 3-foot jump shots all night - every other basket was a point-blank lay-in."
"It was a real confidence booster basically," Ross added. "I haven't been keeping up my end of the bargain with the rest of the starters, so it was good to finish."
Ramiro Alatorre also put up season numbers in assists, distributing 13 while scoring 18 points of his own. He said going into the game he was ready to get the ball to whoever had an open path to the basket.
"I was just looking for the open guy," he explained. "If they give me the lane, I'll take it, but I try to find an open guy every time."
Alatorre added his only regret was not connecting with Ross for the alley-oop, a play they were hoping to pull off in a fast-break situation. Many of Hermiston's scoring opportunities came off the break, which was made possible by out-manuevering the Buffalos' press.
"We spent five days preparing to face their full-court pressure, and we knew how to get the ball into Ramiro's hands," Usher said. "He's our best decision-maker, obviously, and when the ball's in his hands, we're comfortable."
One thing that never became comfortable for Hermiston was the lead, even when it stretched past 20 points in the third quarter. In the first quarter, Madras kept the score close by putting in six 3-pointers.
"We won by 27 points, and that's nine possessions which is 3 minutes for them," Usher said. "I don't think (the score was) indicative of what kind of teams we were."
Usher pointed out rebounding as a major key to the victory, as the Bulldogs beat Madras 43-11 on the glass and kept them from putting in second-chance buckets.
"We haven't played against a team that can shoot like that from the outside," Alatorre said. "We just had to make sure they only took one shot and didn't get more than that."
Alatorre also mentioned he had never been on the winning side of a triple-digit scoring game, and didn't expect it to get that high at the beginning.
The win came without junior Sam Grogan, who served the first of a four-game suspension for disciplinary reasons.
MADRAS (11-5) 20 18 13 25 - 76
HERMISTON (13-3) 26 27 20 30 - 103
MADRAS - A.J. Adams 14, Jansen Harrington 11, Carson Ahern 10, Derrick Metcalf 9, Orrin Wallace 8, Darrell Ceciliani 5, Robert Main 4, Austin Say 3, Josh Roth 2, Ethan Adams, Mark Wunsch, Albert Adams, Logan Kneeland.
HERMISTON - J.J. Ross 37, Ramiro Alatorre 18, Luis Angulo 12, Aaron Allbee 12, Shae Schimmel 8, Krieg Mueller 8, Bryce Baldock 4, Levi Smith.
3-point field goals - Madras 15-34, Hermiston 0-0. Free throws - Madras 13-18, Hermiston 17-25. Fouls - Madras 24, Hermiston 19. Fouled out - Ethan Adams (Madras).